lost all our colonies

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by burmacheck, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. burmacheck

    burmacheck New Member

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    So to our dismay, last night we discovered our 4th colony was dead. just two weeks ago, when we got a little warm day, our girls were out and about. since then, it's been extremely cold and wonder if that did them in. The hive was loaded with honey and bee bread so it wasn't due to lack of food. two other hives, in a different location, it seems as though the bees left. One week they are there, the next there is a few dead ones but the rest have split! I told my husband, we have got to be the worst beekeepers in history! There is no sign of illness, our mite count was extremely low (less than 5%), the hives are clean, I'm just at a loss. We are starting over with brand new hives, we purchased ours used and wonder if by some chance they had something in them but again, no sign of illness. the bees in last nights colony looked like they were just stopped in time, still working, makes no sense. Any advice would be very appreciated, last year was our first year of beekeeping so this is very discouraging!

    kristen
     
  2. Hog Wild

    Hog Wild New Member

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    This same scenario played out in my first year as well, actually my strongest of 4 hives. My best guess is Nosema Cerranae. It doesn't leave the same tell-tale spots as Nosema Apis. They just take a cleansing flight and don't come back. It's only a guess, but I can't come up with anything better. Sorry for your loss.
     

  3. burmacheck

    burmacheck New Member

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    i'm not giving up, that i will say. We are trying boxed bees this time instead of nucs. So new bees, new hive components, lets hope they will make it through the winter! The hive is packed with Honey, thats the disturbing part, although they were in the top box so maybe they just couldn't get to the honey. It was a particularly aggresive hive so they were not easy to work with. we tried to boost them in the early fall with pollen patties and they really were our strongest hive. My husband is not to broken up over it since this hive was the one that sent us dashing to the ER with a severe sting reaction. But i just feel like we failed them. thanks for your suggestion, i'm going to look into this and see what we can do to prevent it from happening.

    kristen
     
  4. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    Welcome Kristen.

    Please don't be too discouraged. You will get plenty of questions and suggestions from this forum. Your equipment can be salvaged. By Summer you can have hives full of active bees. You will learn from this sad event.

    I lost all my bees a few years ago ---- pyrethroid resistant varroa -- my fault. I soon recovered to enjoy my beekeeping.

    Best wishes
     
  5. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    First, Nosema cerrannae sounds plausible. Others may have other ideas.

    You can freeze the honey and bee bread and re-use it in the spring.

    Was there any brood left? If so, describe it. Location, amount, condition, color of cappings, ETC.

    PS. Welcome
     
  6. burmacheck

    burmacheck New Member

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    I will check it out tonight and get back with you. It seriously looks like someone just stopped time, like all of a sudden they would wake up and fly. It's really kind of weird looking. Their wings look great, Although now that i think about it, i don't remember seeing a lot of capped brood. Oh it's like CSI, i'm going to go home and investigate the hive. Maybe even haul it into the living room, ok maybe just the mud room. Definitley a huge learning curve, but like i said, i'm not giving up!

    kristen
     
  7. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    CAREFUL Bees can chill into a stupor and return to life when warmed. Keep them close to an exit until they are fully warmed.
     
  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a burmacheck snip..
    There is no sign of illness, our mite count was extremely low (less than 5%), the hives are clean, I'm just at a loss.

    hogwild writes:
    My best guess is Nosema Cerranae.

    an iddee snip:
    First, Nosema cerrannae sounds plausible


    tecumseh:
    first let me say that I know that Oregon is different enough geographically that in some places winter preparation is important and other places not so much. it would be useful to describe things like elevation and high and low temperatures and how you prep the hives for winter time.

    off the cuff the two above guesses would be my first guess also. some studies (data) seem to suggest that nosema carraena is more of a problem on the west coast than anywhere else in the country. some very old studies (prior to the day of nosema carreana when nosema apis was the only nosema present in the US) there were climatic conditions (foggy and generally wet areas) where nosema apis seemed to thrive <as a side note hive entrance direction was also an important variable in the display of this malady.

    burmacheck writes:
    I told my husband, we have got to be the worst beekeepers in history!

    tecumseh:
    likely not. read '50 years amongst the bees' and see what early success (not) that great ikon had in regards to rearing honeybees (mind you at a time when a long list of maladies didn't exist).

    dr larry connors I think suggested from data he collected rather recently that 60% of new bee keepers loose all their bees in year one <first excellent reason not to have just one hive I would suggest. as time passes and you discover what problems you may encounter at your location (and these will change from time to time) your success rate will improve. Figuring these things out is a bit like a CSI or mystery novel and over time one does get better at reading the clues.

    good luck...
     
  9. Tyro

    Tyro Member

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    I have seen this! Iddee is right!

    It is crazy - they look dead and gone. But the next sunny day - they are all there flying about.
     
  10. burmacheck

    burmacheck New Member

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    OMG, are you serious! Chilled into a stupor, they better be dead because we have one box in our back bedroom and Neal dumped the rest of the "dead" ones outside! What a glorious mess we may be walking into this evening! You have all been great, i cannot wait to tell neal we are not going to be put on PETA's list for bee abuse!

    kristen
     
  11. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Bees don't count for ""People Eating Tasty Animals" PETA :thumbsup: :lol:
     
  12. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Welcome burmacheck, you found a great resource and forum full of friendly folks here.
    Like others have suggested, don't be too hard on yourselves, we have all found ourselves in your situation at one time or another.
    Sometimes you can do everything "right" and still come up with the short end of the stick. There have been hives I was positive were goners that survived a winter, and hives that were huge that didn't.
    It's all part of nature. We can try to optimize things as best as we can, but some things are out of our hands (snow and bone chilling weather comes to mind) :mrgreen:
    If you can, pictures are not too difficult to post if you have a digital camera and greatly help with diagnosis.
    Again, welcome and hope you hang around. :thumbsup:
     
  13. jb63

    jb63 New Member

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    Welcome burma,from what I've read about nosima you need a micro scope to confirm it.Last year I got interested in buying a micro-scope but I still haven't found one.
     
  14. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    I took Randy Oliver's advice on his blog and recently (Santa gift) got the Microscope he recommends , very nice piece with LED lighting, with internal battery which lasts hours.

    Don't have the details with me at present, but easy to look up, at Microscope.com

    Now I need to learn more about preparing the slides to ID the pathogens.
     
  15. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    tecumseh:
    I bought a very old microscope from a now deceased doctor and need to learn to use this as a diagnostic tool. For myself sadly I only get motivated to learn these new things when I am neck deep in a swamp.

    I have notice various 'electronic microscopes' that appear to plug directly into a computer. I assume the picture come up on the screen which would also mean a picture should be able to be captured. I have noticed these in 'geeky' catalogues and more recently in Walmart. all appear to have very affordable price tags. Does anyone know much about these?

    ps... the magnification requirements to look for nosema is fairly low. so nothing really high powered in microscopes is really needed.

    and finally... it might be useful to review some of Randy Oliver's articles. if nothing else he always seem to reduce sampling down to a fairly simple process and analysis of information (data) down to some bench mark <ie there is generally no statistical number crunching involved.
     
  16. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Did the dead hive seem very wet inside? were the dead bees all wet?